Story: Whitebait and whitebaiting

Māori trap (3rd of 3)

Māori trap

Whitebait are caught as they swim upstream from the sea in spring. In the past Māori also caught adult īnanga in autumn as the fish made their way downstream to spawn in estuaries. One method involved cutting a channel through a bar of gravel in a stream bed. A woven flax trap known as a kaka was placed in the channel. It had an open upstream end and a closed downstream end. Water could flow through, but the tight weave would catch the fish as they swam downstream.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Elsdon Best, Fishing methods and devices of the Maori. Wellington: Dominion Museum, 1929, p. 206

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Whitebait and whitebaiting - History and conservation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 April 2024)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 23 Jun 2023